A code we can live by

April 2023
Pat Morden

The lessons learned as the Passover story is told each year are remarkable and ageless. Each year we recite, “Why is this night different than all other nights?” The answers to our questions, journey, and sense of freedom can be found in the tradition, in our hearts and in our heads.

At the end of the seder, we recite, “Next year in Jerusalem,” words of hope that this year will bring freedom, more moments of joy and being on purpose. 

The values of savlanut — patience and persistence are central to the Passover Story, a story of struggle, resilience, and hard-won steps to loosen the binds that prevent us from living our values and beliefs.  

Reliving the Passover story in the pages of the Haggadah year after year requires savlanut. It takes persistence and patience to say the words, to acknowledge its lessons that include forgiveness, team work, finding our way, not giving up, and renewing our faith in deeply-held beliefs. 

People have celebrated Passover through good times and bad, during wars, during the Holocaust, and alone during COVID, finding strength and hope in the story.

At Shalom Village, we will gather with family, friends, and people who care, to tell the Passover story and to learn. Staff will also gather around a Seder table to tell this story, to use its words and songs to remind ourselves of the values of persistence and patience as we move beyond the past and current struggles. 

We will share this story of overwhelming challenges, the paths that were taken and not taken, and share the lessons of resilience we can use today, for ourselves.  We will breathe in, honour, and recommit to our own shared purpose: to honour our fathers and mothers. 

The grace and love found in the lessons of Passover will help us achieve our own freedom and joy in making moments that matter for those who are A.T.H.O.M.E.@ Shalom Village. We will listen to the past, focus on the future and soak in and understand how to have the patience to believe; to keep going. 

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young wrote this song in a time of turbulence:

You, who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so, become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye
… Teach your children well
Their father’s hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s 
the one you’ll know by
… Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

These words remind us that both the past and the journeying that has happened between then and now can teach us. 

Within and without Shalom we listen, we teach each other, share our belief and worries, embrace our possibilities, and will, in sharing the lessons of the Passover story, move forward more confidently.
The Board of Directors has taken a bold move to pause plans for redevelopment, to give the time to listen to our internal and external stakeholders, to give time for our story to be both clear and one that draws us together in a commitment to a shared intent. They have been undaunted in their persistent leadership for Shalom Village to be at its best and now are being patient to allow the future to unfold in a strategic manner.  

Just as in the Passover story, they will take the time to learn from the past and to set an intention for the future as they learn from other leaders in aging research, seniors housing, and the seniors themselves how to be a Jewish faith-based organization, welcoming to all and secure in its foundation. 

At Shalom Village we look forward to refining and advancing our own story and our sense of purpose by leaning into the stories of the past with a focused vision for the future.  

Passover immerses us in the lived experience of previous generations and reminds us that with faith, hard work, persistence, patience and love, we will learn and grow as a community,  as individuals and as an organization.

Pat Morden is Shalom Village interim CEO.